Philadelphia for families

Apr 13th, 2006, 05:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Philadelphia for families

I think I've decided that a trip to Philadelphia for our family of 5 would be a great vacation. We live in Rochester, NY and will drive there at the end of June and stay for approximately a week. We have a 15 yr. old (son) and 2 daughters 12 and 9. They love cities and discovering new things. We also plan to go to Amish country and then to Hershey for a day of playing. I've done a lot of the reading and so have some ideas, but I'd love some feedback about those of you who've had experience with these locations. Of course budgeting is important and we don't need high-end accomodations or meals.
TLDHayes is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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Ah, where to begin...

There are a lot of kid friendly activities in Philly. The Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Constitution Center and Independence Hall. You may also want to check and see if the Phillies will be in town. As a break, take them to Dave & Busters to play games and have a good time. Of course there's also great art museums as well. Rather than the Amish country, you may want to consider going to Wilmington to see all the Dupont estates like Winterthur and the Hagley Museum where they made gunpowder, they're fascinating.
buongiorno is offline  
Apr 18th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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We got a great deal on a hotel through Priceline. In researching at, it seemed that a certain type of bid was fairly certain to win the Hyatt Penn's Landing. We got it for in March for 1 night at $60 (plus $15.94 taxes for a total of $75.94).

We then called the hotel to inquire whether we could have a non-smoking room with 2 beds. That was no problem. With Priceline, you are only guaranteed a room for 2 people. But it seemed that we would be able to have 2 beds at this hotel, and we were willing to take the risk, and it worked out fine. Maybe you could request a rollaway for the 5th person? (There are hotel reviews on the site too, if you are interested).

The hotel is located on the waterfront. The views from the upper floors are nice. If they put you in a lower floor room, ask to be moved to an upper floor. As far as location, you have to cross a busy street and then you are in the Olde City Area (I think of it as 1st St, 2nd St, 3rd St...) There is a bit of traffic hum, as you are near the busy road, but no one else noticed it but me.

(If I was not going to go the Priceline route, I would stay at the Doubletree Hotel at Broad and Locust Streets. I've just always liked this hotel. The rooms are pretty large and many have floor to ceiling windows and great city views. It is also a more central location - Broad is 14th St.)

We stopped at Dave and Buster's during the day. Sort of like Chuck E. Cheese's for the teenage and college age crowd, with lots of fun video games. It is appropriate for kids during the daytime.

I think the art museum has a free morning. Maybe Sunday morning? Not sure.

Near the Independence Hall area there are horse and buggies for rent. The kids always like that sort of thing.
travelgirl2 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 04:15 AM
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If you want to explore the historic district, start out at the Visitors Center and get a ticket for Independence Hall. It is free, but they give you a specific time to come back and tour. The Visitors Center can also provide you with a lot of good info on touring the city. There are walking tours, bus tours, and the "Duck" which tours through the streets and then goes into the river.
As previously stated, your children would probably really enjoy the Franklin Institute Museum. You also may want to cross the river to NJ and visit the Adventure Aquarium. Philadephia has a great zoo that may warrant a visit.
Your family may also enjoy exploring the Reading Terminal Market. You can find a good meal there too.
schmerl is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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As others have already covered the Philadelphia area, let me just add that your visit there would not be complete without a stop at Valley Forge for a look at General Washington's winter encampment. The DuPont properties including Winterthur and Longwood Gardens are certainly American 'treasures', but they also have quite pricey admission fees and your children would probably appreciate them more when they are a bit older.

I would suggest allowing a couple of days to visit Amish country around Lancaster. Your kids might enjoy staying at a working Amish farm If you have any railroad hobbiest in your group, then you must allow time for a visit to Strasburg to see their Railroad Museum. You might even want to stay overnight in a railroad caboose at the Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant in Strasburg? The Lancaster Central Market in the heart of the city is open on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the summer months. This is a great place to shop for local arts & craft items, local food products, etc. Although there is limited seating, you might want to purchase meal items to take with you for later in the day.
Retired_teacher is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Sorry, that Strasburg link in my previous post should read
Retired_teacher is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 07:39 AM
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I live in Phila suburbs with three kids (17,14 &11) Retired teacher is right on about Delaware/Winterteur...BORING! In town, DON"T MISS the new Consitution Center -(5th and Market streets, with below ground garage) it's an interactive, computerized museum all about the Revoluntionary War and Constitution, current exhibit is also Ben Franklin - the opening exhibit is a "theater show" that is fabulous... an actor speaks and charges each of the audience with history decisions/freedom calling etc...
Also, Franklin Institue Science Museum is great for kids ages 8-18 It's on the Parkway (21st street,take a cab)
elmom is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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I live in Philadelphia and can make some recommendations. There is plenty to do in the city.

- There are several hotels that would be manageable -- Sofitel, Wyndham, to name a few. For upscale I'd recommend the Rittenhouse Hotel, the Ritz and thr Four Seasons, in that order.

For great food:
- Definitely spend some time at Reading Terminal Market (which is fun on a Saturday morning - great for all kinds of food). Amish breakfast is excellent. NOT open on Sunday
- the Italian market area
- any restaurant on Walnut Street
- Marathon Grill (chain) is good for reasonably priced sandwiches and breakfasts

- the Franklin Institute,
- the Philadelphia Museum of Art,
- the Rodin Museum (people always forget that one -- its houses the largest collection of Rodin's outside of Paris)

- Fairmount Park (walking along the river, right by the museums -- great to see the folks rowing crew)
- Rittenhouse Square Park -- near good shopping on Walnut Street. Tons of people will be out if the weather is nice. Very small park. Farmer's market on the weekend
- Penn's Landing (there may even be a concert or event going on)

HISTORY: Old City/Society Hill. On that front, I'd suggest either the duck tour, the Phiily Plash, the double decker bus or even a horse and buggy rider that will take you around and show you the historical sights and the driver will give you some commentary. Its kind of fun. Must sees:
- Liberty Bell
- Constitution Center
- Independence Mall
- walk by Betsy Ross House (right next to the house where the kids lived on MTV's "Real World" (your oldest will understand that) and Alfreth's Alley

- Walnut Street (from Rittenhouse Square down to Broad Street)
- Some on Broad Street itself
- Old City (cool galleris and kitschy shops)

LisaNittany is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 07:24 PM
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It sounds as though you might be in Philly during the July 4 holiday. There are numerous special events, often free to the public, during the week around July 4. There may be info on This is a busy season for Philly, so I'd recommend you book your hotel early.
Jeannie is offline  
May 1st, 2006, 04:17 AM
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Check out for info on activities and hotels.
schmerl is offline  
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